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Thread: Changing tube to an Art Tube MP

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    Changing tube to an Art Tube MP

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    I have the Art Tube MP and it sounds pretty damm good IMO. However I wanted some advice about changing the tube. Which one do you recommend? And is it worth the investment?

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    Beck Guest
    The EI ECC83 will be a huge improvement over the Chinese 12AX7 that’s in there.

    http://www.eierc.com/rc/ECC83.htm

    Their ECC83 is about as close to the original Telefunken as you can get at a decent price. I use it in the PAIA tube pre that I built and moded. It originally had a Sovtek 12AX7, which is not much better in a vocal pre than the Chinese stuff.


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    Tim, how close will the Art Tube MP, with the tube replacement, sound to the real thing? Is the stock 12AX7 inside the Art Tube MP, the bottleneck, which prevents the product to be a lot more prized?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cjacek View Post
    Tim, how close will the Art Tube MP, with the tube replacement, sound to the real thing? Is the stock 12AX7 inside the Art Tube MP, the bottleneck, which prevents the product to be a lot more prized?
    No. You can improve the tone with a better tube, but replacing the opamps makes a larger difference in cleaning up the mud. ART uses OPA2134 in their MPA Gold range, that's what I had used in the MP I modded.

    After that, you are looking at recapping, and the MP uses a LOT of caps for a single channel pre.

    The last thing is increasing the plate voltage, that requires reworking the power supply with a voltage multiplier on the plate supply. I didn't do that as a mod, but the MPA Gold has high plate voltage, which makes a tremendous difference in clarity. That's a more advanced mod though.

  5. #5
    Beck Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by cjacek View Post
    Tim, how close will the Art Tube MP, with the tube replacement, sound to the real thing? Is the stock 12AX7 inside the Art Tube MP, the bottleneck, which prevents the product to be a lot more prized?
    Daniel, “The real thing” is a different animal than these budget starved-plate tube pres, but I don’t agree with some purists that say they aren’t real tube devices. The low voltage, starved-plate design is just another way of making it work… the PAIA 9407K in particular is a well-designed device.

    Devices like the MP can be improved with higher-grade components. Manufacturers keep the costs down by using marginal parts (and slave labor ). There are just so many hissy, microphonic tubes coming out of Asia, so a tube manufacturer like Ei with better QC will make a difference.

    Op-amps will help as well. The BB 2134 is a good choice if you want to try something else, but if the stock amps are NE5532 I tend to like those and leave them in place. Best thing to do is solder in an 8-pin DIP socket so you can try different op-amps. Give the 4580 a shot… I like those for some things.

    Also spend a little extra on machined DIP sockets (See photo) rather than the tension type available from Radio Shack. The machined type make the best contact with the pins, short of soldering, and you don’t have to worry as much about oxidation down the road.

    You could end up repopulating the whole MP circuit board with new caps and resistors for best results, but a better tube and op-amps will make a noticeable improvement over the stock units.

    Attached Images Attached Images machined-dip-8-jpg 
    Last edited by Beck; 11-05-2007 at 22:58. Reason: 3000 :)

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    Thanks Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    The EI ECC83 will be a huge improvement over the Chinese 12AX7 that’s in there.

    http://www.eierc.com/rc/ECC83.htm

    Their ECC83 is about as close to the original Telefunken as you can get at a decent price. I use it in the PAIA tube pre that I built and moded. It originally had a Sovtek 12AX7, which is not much better in a vocal pre than the Chinese stuff.

    Can you order these ECC83's directly from EI and if so, will they also fit in the Cheaper ART TUBE MP studio model pre?
    A.A.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Beck View Post
    Op-amps will help as well. The BB 2134 is a good choice if you want to try something else, but if the stock amps are NE5532 I tend to like those and leave them in place. Best thing to do is solder in an 8-pin DIP socket so you can try different op-amps. Give the 4580 a shot… I like those for some things.
    TL072 as I recall. And I don't like 4580 for anything But once you go fast, it's hard to go back . . . you can always hit the tube hard if you want to fuzz things up after the swap.

  9. #9
    Beck Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by mshilarious View Post
    TL072 as I recall. And I don't like 4580 for anything But once you go fast, it's hard to go back . . . .
    It's hard to go anywhere once you're self-oscillating.

    The 4580 is good for swapping out the ubiquitous 4558 or 4560, and I think it's pretty clean where I've used them... but you know, op-amps are like a religious thing. The 4580 and NE5532 are safe bets for drop-in without worrying about oscillation, or PS issues with a mass swap in a console.

    But hey, that's why we put the sockets in first... you can experiment to your heart's content.

  10. #10
    Beck Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by analog aaron View Post
    Can you order these ECC83's directly from EI and if so, will they also fit in the Cheaper ART TUBE MP studio model pre?
    A.A.

    Ei doesn't sell directly, but their ECC83 is easy to find out there... just google. I don't remember where I bought mine. It's been a few years.

    Yes, it will work in any of the MPs. The 12AX7 is a very common tube, used in a lot of amps and pres.


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